GREEN TIME, NOT SCREEN TIME
A Solution by Bike Austria to improve children’s health
Getting kids outside and active in fun groups
Screen time is having a significant negative impact on our children’s health. Prof. Dr. Klaus Greier et al., 2017, from the University of Innsbruck published a report in the Wiener klinischen Wochenschrift – The Central European Journal of Medicine. His team found that children aged 10-14 in Austria spend an unbelievable average of 10.3 hours per day on screens. These results were independent of social status, with screen time correlating negatively with both sports activities and motor skills. In the same year, the Center for Disease control in the United States reported that over 80% of kids get less than the recommended 60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.
Existing sports programs have failed to address these trends. Camps exists to give children outdoor experiences, but few, if any in Austria, have the core mission of making long-term changes that foster healthy behaviors.
Understanding the challenges that screen time presents for children’s health, our programs focus upon 5 key areas:
- Fun and Adventure
- Critical for long-term participation in an activity
- Community and Sense of Belonging
- Friendship and Social Skills
- Life Skills
The various barriers individuals face in their search for a healthier lifestyle requires a deep understanding of sport physiology, psychology and medicine. With a strong background in both sport and medicine, the team at Bike Austria offer more than just a standard exercise program.
Located in the Hohe Tauern, one of the most majestic landscapes on earth, Bike Austria is able to create unique programs that motivate, inspire, and push individuals to discover their better selves. The central program design will be a progression of cycling skills, fitness training, and nutrition. The goal is both physical and emotional health. The physical health naturally follows continued participation in a sport that improves cardiovascular health and reduces obesity. Less obvious, but more significant is the emotional health component. Screen time negatively impacts children’s emotional health by reducing meaningful social interactions. Reduces self-confidence and self-worth follow. Bike Austria’s solution is to work in small groups that support each other. These groups build those important social relationships and increase self-confidence. In working closely with school counselors and parents, Dr. Tracy Anderson has learned that improvements have been observed in school and at home. This is consistent with results of current research.
Cycling will be the core of our programs because it is the perfect “Green Exercise”. Regardless of fitness level, it is fun, easy to learn and a life-long sport. It provides an essential cardiovascular workout while reaping a multitude of physical and mental benefits from the natural environment. The existing cycling infrastructure in the Hohe Tauern is developed sufficiently to allow immediate implementation of the programs.